Well it feels like the first day on the new job. I’d like to say that I don’t normally wake up at 2:30 a.m. but that seems to be more the norm these days, not the exception. The difference, however, isn’t waking up thinking about CSS, or what task I need to do tomorrow on a particular website. This time, it’s with this feeling of “What is tomorrow going to bring?” It is unofficially my first dedicated day on the new job, and as spaceninja says – this new employer doesn’t really give you time off.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around not having a job. Since I can remember I’ve always had a full-time job. Not to piss off stay at home moms out there – I do understand it doesn’t get any fuller or full-time than being a mom. But identity-wise for me, I’ve always worked as a front-end developer. And now after 10+ years that’s not the main thing on my business card. I’ve worried about how it will feel to not have that as my main identity. Which is weird because it’s not like I was a huge evangelist, or a particularly active voice in the web community. But at my core, that’s really what I’ve been the longest. So this new role is a tad daunting, to say the least! And frankly I don’t know how I feel about it yet. I think I’ll really miss it. The last two years working surrounded by developers has been a treat and made me realize that I need that. I enjoy being around them almost as much as I’ve enjoyed having seriously top-notch designers handing me comps. The environment of collaboration around a technical and aesthetically enjoyable task is one I think I will seriously miss.

I didn’t realize this until I took briefly, prior to Pop Art, a job where I was the sole web/technical person. The people were wonderful, but I felt lonely! I missed the challenges, commraderie and problem solving you only get when working on a project that requires more than just you to pull it off. So there’s a part of me that’s a smidge worried about this new horizon. Especially since, as a shock this may be to everyone, I haven’t quite embraced myself as a mom yet.

This came as a bit of a surprise to some of my birthing class cohorts, as I sat there with my belly protruding out into the middle of the room. One woman said that she felt like a mom from day one because she had to now think of another person before she ate or drank something, or did something as simple as cross the street. And I get that – I have that now too. I had this weird moment the other day on my way home – new bus stop that means my short cut for getting home is crossing active train tracks. After a really long night, I got there just as a train stopped on the tracks in front of me – barring my way. I could have easily walked behind it – and my unpregnant stupid daredevil self would have just booked it. But thinking, wow how stupid would it be for me to get backed over by a train after 36 weeks of not eating rare meat or nitrates? I turned around and walked a seriously long way out of my way to get home.

So I get the thinking of another being thing. But I couldn’t help but note – this was said by a woman who was going to keep her job. And while that definitely has it’s own sacrifices and challenges that I completely respect, I think it still allows you this piece or facet of who you are to remain. That said, choosing to eat better, exercise and make choices for an unborn child, for me is slightly different than having a new helpless person in the world who is solely dependent on you. Being pregnant is a package deal. Yes you make choices that effect another, but in a way you don’t have a choice. It’s not like you can put it down and walk away. It’s always with you. As a mother – as a parent – I think you make choices everyday. You prioritize your life in a certain way that’s different than when a child is a part of you. And that’s the great unknown for me.

I’m not sure I’m really expressing the weird fight in my head over my identity. Work has really always defined me, for better or worse. It doesn’t mean I’m particularly good at it! It just means that’s the one constant I’ve had in my life that has been a part of who I am. And I know that I don’t have to stop that. I can continue being active in something that I enjoy – that’s a part of me. But I’m realizing that I’m laying down that mantle a bit and picking up this unknown definition of who I’ll be. That feels as foreign to me as ice fishing. I’ve fished before = I’ve held babies before. So I should be alright, right? Uh huh.

Not that I’m mortified. I’m somewhat ready. And excited. I’ve fed fantasies about this life for literally years. And honestly – I didn’t think I’d be lucky enough to stay home with my kid. It was a recent realization that we might be able to pull it off – with some sacrifices of course. And that was something I’ve always wanted. From the time I knew I wanted to have a kid, I knew I wanted to stay home (not to say I’ll want that in another 3-6 months! I honestly don’t know if I’ll be able to hack it) and be the one to witness it from the get go. But the reality of life – at times being the bigger bread winner – seemed to mean I wouldn’t necessarily get the choice to stay home, and that if I chose to have a child it would be with that big compromise. Which was really a hard choice for me. But as my child bearing years began to wane, it seemed worth any compromise, and we jumped in with both feet just hoping it would turn out!

Things of course have changed. I’m no longer the primary bread winner. While we have counted on both of our salaries, Papi is taking on more so that I can stay home. It’s a decision we’ve both made, but I have to say I slightly worry about how much he’s going to have to work, and how much I’m going to have to take care of household things. Kind of blows my mind how I’m looking at a June Cleaver life. I know it doesn’t have to be that, and unless June dropped a lot of f-bombs, I’m sure it won’t be. But it’s sure different from agency life and a bevvy of deadlines.

The one thing procrastination and cramming prepared me for in college, seemed to be life in an agency. The self imposed turnaround times seemed to jive completely with the “Wait for it.. wait for it… ok… now GO!” mentality of last minute pull-it-off-ness that sometimes defines work at an agency. I’m not sure I’ll miss that! However it doesn’t mean that I’ve solved my procrastination streak, and I wonder how this will serve me in my new role. “Sorry kid, we’re walking home from the hospital because I didn’t get the car seat installed in time. Yeah, I know we live in Milwaukie.”

That said, in theory I have another 2 weeks to prepare for her impending arrival. I hope to fill it with walks, naps, reducing my cankles with legs-up-the-wall yoga poses, preparing the baby’s room – even though for the first few months at least – her room will be our room, and the otherwise general preparing of laundry washing, car-seat installing, purchasing last minute unglamorous items that no one will give you at a shower – like diaper pails and breast pumps.

I don’t know that this will turn into a “mommy-blog” but I do think it funny that the first time I really write about being a mom – is the first day I’m not something else. And the floundering feeling that’s left me. I left work today thinking about how I moved to Portland with a goal to some day work for an agency. And now that I have, and it’s been this crazy whirlwind of job-getting-changing, house selling-buying, remodeling and now pregnancy – I had this weird anti-climactic feeling of “Oh god, now what?”

And then I smiled really big because I don’t have to go to work on Monday, I don’t have a newborn yet, which means we can still go out to dinner! So Papi and I packed it off to try a new place as we’ve been doing these days. Whooping it up, if you will, before we’re struck with a demanding infant. We tried Papa Hadyn. Papi insisting on the risotto. His quest to find one that rivals one he had at a restaurant we wish we could remember the name of, in of all places, Scottsdale, AZ that someone had given us a gift certificate to. It had turned out to be one of the best things we’ve ever put in our mouths. Being his first and only risotto, the bar was cast unusually high, and he’s been looking to recreate that experience ever since.

After a mediocre mixed green salad and riding the heels of his disappointment in a lumpy, dry and possibly undercooked risotto, I had to hold back rubbing it in too much by visibly enjoying my Muscovy duck. My own stab at a description – seared duck over wine infused chard and trumpet mushrooms lying on some of the softest gnocchi pillows I’ve ever put in my mouth. Now granted – I’m a pregnant lady – who dined on warm Coffee Plant pastries (yes, note that’s plural: molasses ginger cookie AND blueberry coffee cake) at 10:30 a.m. this morning – which served as lunch as well. So I could have swallowed a small piglet in one gulp, not chewed and claimed it the best thing to ever put in my gullet. But seriously how do you go wrong with a form of crispy duck skin. How?

However the real, and most likely only reason, we were there – other than it’s nearby and we’ve never been – is that Papi is a dessert hound, says the woman who ate confection as a meal not 8 hours previous. (Just an aside, I do feel slightly bad for pointing at my swollen ankles this morning when the midwife raised her eyebrow at my most recent weight gain. Ok, maybe it’s not ALL water weight. But if you’re going to have to suffer sudden onset of cankles, there should be some perk, right?) He ordered the Cassata a “Kahlua and espresso-soaked sponge cake with bittersweet chocolate-ricotta filling”. It was served with raspberry puree and chocolate. Thankfully we split it. And it was the cherry on my day.

Papi and I have never been the romantic dinner couple. But tonight and our recent night out to Ken’s Artisan Pizza, have kind of ignited that for us. So I waddled out of there on a cloud as a pensive mother to be, no longer gainfully employed front-end web developer glad to have someone I love to take me out to eat.

One thought on “Old Job, New Job, Identity Crisis, Duck Skin and Romance

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